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Clinton Presses Case Against Obama

Hillary Clinton holds a news conference at the Westin Embassy Row hotel. (Getty Images).

By Anne E. Kornblut
Taking her turn at a little post-debate spin, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton described Sen. Barack Obama as "very frustrated" in their exchanges on Monday night in Myrtle Beach. "He clearly came last night looking for a fight," Clinton said.

But in a press conference with reporters at the Westin hotel near Dupont Circle, Clinton faced repeated questions about her husband's increasing role as her attack dog in the race, and about whether she is using unseemly tactics against Obama. She vehemently defended former president Bill Clinton, saying she did not believe he had misconstrued anything Obama has said. And she denied feeling she must win in order to restore her husband's legacy.

Asked whether she has been intentionally talking down to Obama in order to diminish his standing, Clinton said she has not. "I think that this is totally about us as individuals. He is African American. I am a woman," Clinton said.

"This obviously brings with it an enormous historical significance, on both of our behalfs, and I think that there is no doubt in my mind and I don't think any fair observer's mind that we are proud to be who we are, each of us," she said. "But campaigns are about differences."

Clinton declined to repeat her attack on Obama for his association with what she described as a "slum landlord" during the Monday night debate. She did, though, seem to mock Obama once more about his record, saying, "I know it's sometimes hard to keep track of facts."

"It is clear that this is a difficult subject area for Senator Obama," Clinton said. "He has a hard time responding to questions about his record. The Republicans are not going to have any compunctions about asking any of us anything."

With global markets in turmoil, Clinton opened her remarks by calling for President Bush to convene a working group on the financial markets, or direct the treasury secretary to do so. She said that the president's failures have undermined the economy and are contributing to worldwide fears that American consumer spending will drop. And she said that the president has so far failed, in his economic proposals, to address the mortgage crisis. She called for a combination of spending, regulatory action and tax rebates to help bolster the housing market and to support people who currently do not pay income tax. Clinton has proposed a 90-day moratorium on housing foreclosures and a five-year rate freeze to halt the mortgage slide.

"As we look at what's happening in the economy, it's very important to recognize how the policies of the last seven years have contributed," Clinton said.

By Web Politics Editor  |  January 22, 2008; 10:42 AM ET
 
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